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Species: Scorpaena brasiliensis, Barbfish, Barbfish Scorpeonfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

ridge under eye: 3 spines
branched eye cirrus
deep pit behind eyes
lower head & body: small brown spots
pectoral 16-20
scales smooth

Scorpaena brasiliensis Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1829

Barbfish, Barbfish Scorpeonfish

Head very bony, with numerous spines; snout very short (<eye); spine present behind front nostril; adults with a deep pit on top of head behind eyes, a pair of spines before that pit; eye moderate; a well developed, branched cirrus over eye; 1st (top most) preopercular spine the largest, with another one below that; a spine behind front nostril; bone over front of mouth with 2 spines pointing down and forwards; ridge under eye strong, with 3 blunt spines; roof of mouth with teeth on sides but not at front; no slit behind last gill arch; dorsal fin XII, 8.5-9.5; anal III, 5; pectoral 16-20, with some upper rays branched in adult; scales relatively large, smooth; lateral line complete.

Ground color varies from red, to brown to greenish-brown to yellow and white, paler below; throat red; lower head and body and inside surface of base of pectorals with small, round dark spots; pectorals green-brown, yellow in center; 3-4 brown blotches along side under lateral line; dorsal fin without large dark blotch at front; tail fin with two indistinct dark bars – across center of fin and at its rear edge.

Reaches 35 cm.

Found on shallow soft bottoms, occasionally around reefs; marine and brackish water.

Depth range: 1-204 m.

Virginia to Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Estuary
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 35
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 204